Top 10 Most Iconic English Premier League Managers

As you step onto the pitch of the English Premier League, you can almost hear the echoes of the iconic managers who have graced its sidelines. From the fiery passion of Sir Alex Ferguson to the calculated brilliance of Arsene Wenger, these individuals have shaped the league into what it is today.

But who are the top 10 most iconic managers? Who has left an everlasting legacy on the English game? In this discussion, we will explore the lives, achievements, and philosophies of these legendary figures, and perhaps uncover the secrets to their success.

So, get ready to witness the unparalleled genius of these master tacticians, as we embark on a journey through the minds of the greatest managers in Premier League history.

Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson, widely regarded as one of the greatest managers in football history, led Manchester United to unprecedented success during his tenure at the club. Known for his strong managerial philosophy and leadership style, Ferguson instilled a winning mentality and a never-give-up attitude in his players. He emphasized discipline, hard work, and a focus on team unity, which helped create a winning culture at Manchester United.

Ferguson's retirement in 2013 had a significant impact on Manchester United's performance. After his departure, the club struggled to maintain the same level of success. The team went through a period of transition, with multiple managerial changes and a decline in performance. This highlighted the immense influence that Ferguson had on the club's success.

Under Ferguson's guidance, Manchester United won an impressive 13 Premier League titles, including a historic treble in 1999. He also led the team to two Champions League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups, and 10 Charity/Community Shields. His ability to consistently build and rebuild winning teams showcased his exceptional managerial skills, which makes probably the most iconic coach in the Premier League, according to Tempotips.

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger, a highly respected and influential figure in English football, left an indelible mark during his tenure as the manager of Arsenal Football Club. One of Wenger's most notable contributions was his impact on youth development and player scouting. He revolutionized Arsenal's approach to nurturing young talent, implementing a philosophy that focused on technical skills, discipline, and tactical intelligence. Under Wenger's guidance, Arsenal produced a number of talented players who went on to become international superstars, such as Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas, and Robin van Persie.

Another significant aspect of Wenger's legacy is his rivalry with Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary manager of Manchester United. Their managerial styles couldn't have been more different. Wenger emphasized a stylish, attacking brand of football, while Ferguson prioritized a more pragmatic and physical approach. Their clashes on the touchline and heated encounters on the pitch became the stuff of legends. Despite their differences, both managers shared a mutual respect and pushed each other to new heights, creating one of the most memorable rivalries in Premier League history.

Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho, a highly accomplished and influential manager in the English Premier League, has left an indelible mark on the football world with his tactical brilliance and remarkable success. However, there's a growing debate about whether Mourinho is a tactical genius or an outdated manager.

Known for his pragmatic approach and emphasis on defensive solidity, Mourinho has achieved great success throughout his career. He's won Champions League titles in 2004 and 2010, secured six league titles, and lifted four domestic cups.

Mourinho's impact on player development is another aspect that can't be overlooked. He's proven his ability to nurture and enhance the skills of young talents, as seen in his work with players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Frank Lampard, and Eden Hazard. Mourinho has a knack for identifying the strengths of his players and utilizing them effectively within his tactical framework.

However, some critics argue that Mourinho's style of play has become outdated in the modern game, with a growing emphasis on attacking football and high pressing. They believe that his defensive approach hampers the creative freedom of players and limits their potential.

Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola, regarded as one of the most influential and innovative managers in the English Premier League, has revolutionized the game with his possession-based style of play and tactical innovations. Analyzing his tactical innovations and impact on modern football, Guardiola's emphasis on maintaining possession and building play from the back has changed the way teams approach the game. His teams are known for their intricate passing patterns, quick interchanges, and the ability to dominate games through control of the ball. Guardiola's tactical approach hasn't only brought success to Manchester City but has also influenced other teams and managers to adopt a similar style.

Comparing Guardiola's success at Manchester City with his previous managerial stints, it's clear that he's achieved remarkable results. During his time at Barcelona, Guardiola won 14 trophies in just four seasons, including three La Liga titles and two Champions League titles. He then moved on to Bayern Munich, where he won three consecutive Bundesliga titles and reached the Champions League semifinals three times. Since joining Manchester City in 2016, Guardiola has won three consecutive Premier League titles, breaking multiple records along the way.

Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp, the renowned German manager, has made a significant impact in the English Premier League with his high-intensity pressing style of play and impressive track record of success. Klopp's impact on Liverpool's playing style has been undeniable. Under his guidance, Liverpool has become known for their relentless pressing, quick transitions, and attacking prowess. Klopp's emphasis on teamwork, hard work, and aggressive play has transformed Liverpool into one of the most feared teams in Europe.

But Klopp's impact goes beyond just the playing style. He's been instrumental in Liverpool's success and their return to the pinnacle of English and European football. His ability to instill belief, motivate his players, and create a strong team spirit has been crucial in Liverpool's triumphs, including winning the Premier League title in 2020 after a 30-year wait and securing the UEFA Champions League trophy in 2019.

Moreover, Klopp has a long-term vision for Liverpool. He's built a squad with a blend of talented young players and experienced leaders that can sustain success for years to come. His focus on player development, recruitment, and team cohesion has laid the foundation for Liverpool to remain a force in English football for the foreseeable future.

Sir Matt Busby

Sir Matt Busby, one of the most revered figures in English football history, played a pivotal role in the resurgence of Manchester United and their triumphs on both domestic and European stages. His managerial style had a profound impact on the success of the club.

Busby believed in nurturing young talent and building a team that played attacking, entertaining football. He implemented a youth development system that produced a generation of talented players known as the 'Busby Babes,' including the likes of Duncan Edwards and Bobby Charlton. This emphasis on youth development and attractive football laid the foundation for the success that Manchester United would go on to achieve under future managers like Sir Alex Ferguson.

When comparing Sir Matt Busby's legacy to other iconic English Premier League managers, his impact goes beyond just trophies won. Busby's ability to rebuild and inspire a team after the tragic Munich air disaster in 1958 showcased his resilience and leadership. He led Manchester United to their first European Cup triumph in 1968, a feat that solidified his place among the greats.

His commitment to attacking football and nurturing young talent set a precedent for future managers and contributed to Manchester United's identity as one of the most successful clubs in English football. Sir Matt Busby's legacy isn't only defined by the trophies he won, but also by the lasting impact he had on the club and the game as a whole.

Kenny Dalglish

After discussing the impact of Sir Matt Busby's managerial style and legacy, it's now time to shift our focus to another iconic figure in English football history: Kenny Dalglish.

Dalglish had a significant impact on Liverpool's success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. As a player-manager, he was able to seamlessly transition from being a key player on the field to a successful leader off it. Dalglish's tactical acumen and ability to inspire his team were evident in the three league titles and two FA Cups that Liverpool won under his guidance. His attention to detail and emphasis on teamwork created a winning culture at the club.

Dalglish's legacy at Liverpool is undeniable. He led the team to their last league title in 1990, ending a 30-year wait for the championship. His ability to balance the responsibilities of playing and managing, along with his success on the field, solidifies his place as one of the most iconic figures in Liverpool's history.

Claudio Ranieri

Claudio Ranieri, known for his exceptional man-management skills and ability to create a cohesive team, is a highly regarded figure in English football history. His tactical approach and man-management skills have made a significant impact on the Premier League. Ranieri's most notable achievement came in the 2015-2016 season when he led Leicester City to an unprecedented Premier League title. This miracle win shocked the football world and showcased the immense impact a skilled manager can have on a team.

Ranieri's tactical approach during Leicester City's title-winning campaign was characterized by defensive solidity and effective counter-attacking football. He devised a system that maximized the strengths of his players and allowed them to excel on the pitch. His ability to bring out the best in his players and foster a strong team spirit was evident throughout the season.

The impact of Ranieri's Leicester City miracle on the Premier League can't be understated. It showed that with the right leadership and a clear vision, even the underdogs can achieve greatness. Ranieri's success with Leicester City inspired hope and belief in other clubs that they too could challenge the traditional powerhouses of English football.

Brian Clough

Brian Clough, one of the most successful and iconic managers in English football history, achieved remarkable success with Nottingham Forest, winning two European Cups and leading Derby County to the First Division title in 1972.

Clough's impact on Nottingham Forest can't be overstated. His managerial style, characterized by his strong personality, excellent man-management skills, and tactical astuteness, played a crucial role in the club's unprecedented success. Clough created a cohesive team that worked tirelessly for each other on the pitch, instilling a winning mentality that propelled Forest to European glory. His ability to get the best out of his players, both individually and collectively, was a testament to his exceptional managerial abilities.

Assessing the legacy of Brian Clough in English football, it's clear that his achievements with Nottingham Forest have cemented his status as one of the greatest managers of all time. His back-to-back European Cup triumphs with a relatively small club like Forest are unparalleled. Clough's success showed that with the right leadership and vision, any team could achieve greatness.

Furthermore, his impact extended beyond the silverware. Clough's charismatic personality, witty remarks, and outspoken nature made him a beloved figure in English football. His legacy is one of inspiration and admiration, as he proved that success could be achieved through hard work, determination, and a touch of genius.

Brian Clough's influence on Nottingham Forest and English football as a whole will forever be remembered and celebrated.

Carlo Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti, a highly accomplished and respected manager in the world of football, has left an indelible mark on the English Premier League with his calm and composed demeanor, tactical flexibility, and ability to manage star-studded teams.

Ancelotti's tactical flexibility is one of his greatest strengths as a manager. He's shown the ability to adapt his tactics to different opponents and situations, making him a formidable opponent for any team. Whether it's employing a possession-based style or opting for a more counter-attacking approach, Ancelotti knows how to get the best out of his players and exploit the weaknesses of his opponents.

Another key aspect of Ancelotti's managerial prowess is his ability to handle star-studded teams. Throughout his career, he's managed some of the biggest clubs in Europe, including AC Milan, Chelsea, and Real Madrid. Handling a squad filled with egos and big personalities can be a challenging task, but Ancelotti has proven time and again that he's the ability to manage these players effectively. He creates a harmonious environment where everyone is united towards a common goal, allowing his teams to achieve success on the pitch.

Ancelotti's calm and composed demeanor also plays a crucial role in managing these star-studded teams, as it helps him maintain a sense of control and stability even in high-pressure situations.


In conclusion, these top 10 iconic English Premier League managers have left an indelible mark on the sport. Their impressive title hauls and tactical innovations have solidified their status as legends in the world of football.

As we look to the future, there are potential candidates who've the potential to join this esteemed group, and we must also acknowledge the honorable mentions who've made significant contributions to the league.

The world of Premier League football is ever-evolving, and these managers have shaped it in remarkable ways.